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Old 03-07-2013, 02:04 AM    (permalink
PACKmanN
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Default Lack of Elite Talent in the NFL?

The league seems like it is being filled up with talent that fit to the system that the team is running. Fans, when targeting prospects or free agents, seem to always discuss how so-and-so fits their system better than so-and-so. Does this mean that there is a lack of elite talent in the NFL? Has is decreased over the years?

It feels like every year when you make a top 10 positional group, it always changes. At some positions, you have your top guy(some top two) and then the rest change.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:18 AM    (permalink
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I think some position are lacking, but in other positions there is some of the best talent we have had all time potentionally.

For instance, right now is there any ALL TIME great safeties or CB's??? Probably not. Some all pros but All time not so much...

But you look at WR and if it keeps heading the way it is, you got Calvin, AJ, Julio, Dez that have true elite talent to be all time greats.

At RB, you got AD ...and he is probably the one at the current moment that we will look back at and say he was an all time great....

QB has elite talent, I really think this is one of the best current crop of QB's young and old that has come across the NFL in a long time.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:21 AM    (permalink
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Rob Gronkowski is on an all time great career path at TE. He's destroying the record books as a goal line threat, he is basically and extra OT as a blocker, and he's a very good intermediate field TE. He's clearly the best TE in the league and his game is without holes. Baring a catastrophic injury, he's basically a lock for the hall of fame.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:08 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by PACKmanN View Post
The league seems like it is being filled up with talent that fit to the system that the team is running. Fans, when targeting prospects or free agents, seem to always discuss how so-and-so fits their system better than so-and-so. Does this mean that there is a lack of elite talent in the NFL? Has is decreased over the years?
Interesting thought, but for this point, I think a lot of it has to do with fans becoming more sophisticated thanks to the internet and 24-hour sports news.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:26 AM    (permalink
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No, there's not a lack of elite talent. Fans have simply FINALLY learned that even elite players don't necessarily fit every system or fit some worse than merely "good" players.

It's always been like this; fans just now have more understanding of schemes and players not on their team...and of players' weaknesses.

Back in the day, only those few of us who played college ball ever saw legit x and o breakdowns of different plays and even schemes. We saw fewer games because we didn't have as many nationally televised. Very few people recorded games on tape when that ability was finally widespread in the 80s and DVR technology didn't really catch on until the late 2000s.

...but what's the biggest reason fans are better educated now?



The internet is relatively new. High-speed internet that doesn't take a couple of minutes to load a simple page is even newer. Using the internet to read detailed analysis of professional football players is newer than that, even. Football articles on the internet used to be all fluff and quotes. Imagine every football article either being a straight report of what happened in a game...or a Peter King article. Even sportswriters hadn't been educated yet. The information we get now is incredible. The way it used to be, most people never dreamed that they'd get as much information as they do now.

The difference in knowledge between coaches and the smartest fans used to be unfathomably large. Now, the gap is closing.

TL;DR...Players aren't less elite; we're just better educated.

edit: oh, sure. WCH hit the nail on the head as I was typing out all of this crap and searching for that old 90s internet advertisement in .gif form. :shake fist:
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:28 AM    (permalink
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I've always felt that as long as the NFL is strong at QB then the league itself will be strong.

QB depth and quality is as good as its ever been. In the early 90s we had Montana, Elway and Marino as all-time greats, Jim Kelly was a future HOFer and young pups like Aikman and Favre who would eventually develop into HOFers and Super Bowl winners. Warren Moon was the 7th HOFer from that era and you also had flash and excitement of Randall Cunningham while Boomer Esiason and Phil Simms were coming to the end of very good careers.

Peyton and Brady are at that level among the greatest ever and have been for a while. Brees is a HOF lock and Aaron Rodgers is on the fast track to greatness as well. Eli and Big Ben are both double Super Bowl winners and will likely end up in Canton as well. That's 6 certain/very likely HOFers compared to the 7 from the early 90s and two of those 7 were very early into their careers. With the influx of young QB talent from 2009-12 and guys like Flacco and Ryan now entering their prime we haven't had it so good in a long time.

Cornerback and safety still have HOF locks Ed Reed and Champ Bailey with Darrelle Revis at his best playing at a level not seen since Deion. Tight End is certainly a position that looks much stronger today than ever before and certainly as good as the days of John Mackey and Mike Ditka. Gonzalez, Gates, Witten, Gronk and Graham (what is it with the letter G and TEs?) is the golden era of the position.

Where the 90s had real strength compared to today was in the offensive line positions. Anthony Munoz was arguably the greatest ever and he passed the torch at the start of the decade to the likes of Bruce Matthews, Randall McDaniel, Gary Zimmerman and Dermontti Dawson.

Looking back at the mid 90s drafts there was a future HOF lineman seemingly every year. Roaf in 1993, then Larry Allen in 94, Jon Ogden in 96 with Walter Jones and Orlando Pace both going Top 5 in 1997. And then there was the awesome Tony Boselli, the number two pick in 1995 and who at one point looked like another Munoz before his injuries robbed him.

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Old 03-07-2013, 02:08 PM    (permalink
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It's all about information.

I don't think players are less talented, some players can't mentally keep up/stay ahead. Physically I'd assume they're better than ever and there are more players in general. Kids are brought up with more strategy and methods of training are so refined.

Prejudices formed the league more so back then. Coaches see skill and they figure out ways to use it. People seriously believed a running QB couldn't win a title like ten years ago, pocket passers were the only way to go. That's because they use the past to predict the future and the valid argument about QB health.

Now, nearly every young QB has running ability and is even a key part of the run game with the read option. They'll probably grow out of that, but the ability to pick up a first down when everyone is covered is game changing. The QB position is more athletically talented than it's ever been. It's debatable if those guys would've been forced to switch positions.


I'm sure a ton of past greats would have completely different careers if their opponents were able to study them like they can today. Weaknesses were protected, tendencies were harder to find and you could probably get away with slacking a bit more too. I think the best athletes would remain dominant, but some would be knocked down a peg.


I think the complexities of the modern game is the main factor in weeding out players.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:20 PM    (permalink
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I think we're much slower to call guys elite in all sports these days because we have a much broader access to advanced stats and we can debunk things easier. Surely there was a time when every CB that was high on the INT list was loved(except by their own fans. DELTHA O'NEAL).
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:22 PM    (permalink
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I think we're much slower to call guys elite in all sports these days because we have a much broader access to advanced stats and we can debunk things easier. Surely there was a time when every CB that was high on the INT list was loved(except by their own fans. DELTHA O'NEAL).
God O'neal was beastly that year.
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:51 PM    (permalink
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For instance, right now is there any ALL TIME great safeties or CB's??? Probably not. Some all pros but All time not so much...
One injury and everyone forgets Revis?
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:53 PM    (permalink
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One injury and everyone forgets Revis?
I'm not putting Revis in the All Time list just yet.

Nothing to do with the injury - and I am a fan of his...but not yet...
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:01 PM    (permalink
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For instance, right now is there any ALL TIME great safeties or CB's??? Probably not. Some all pros but All time not so much...




These guys say hi.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:03 PM    (permalink
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oh sweet god - let Sherman do it for a few years before calling him all time,


I said we have All-pros
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:12 PM    (permalink
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oh sweet god - let Sherman do it for a few years before calling him all time,


I said we have All-pros




Had to be done.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:17 PM    (permalink
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Had to be done.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:16 PM    (permalink
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No, there's more talent in the NFL today than there ever was in the past. Football does not stand still. The players themselves are more gifted than they were 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago. And decades from now, it'll be the same in relation to today.

The problem is, most sports fans are morons. The type of morons who include Wes Welker in their Top 10 WRs list. Subconsciously, they realize he's not a very good receiver, but they find that to be a threat to their enjoyment of pro football, so...they ******** themselves.

They invent "intangibles" that aren't there to compensate for the fact that he gets all of his production on dinky little routes. Otherwise, they'd struggle mightily over the ultimate philosophical question. "If it's sooo easy, why isn't everyone doinggg itzzzz?"

They don't get that some NFL coaches are ahead of the curve when it comes to offense, and other coaches look at schemes like that, shake their heads, and go, "yeah, but what have all those gawdy numbers won them? The Patriots ain't won a Super Bowl since 04. Defense and low turnovers wins championships."

There's no such thing as a "player who doesn't fit a system"...unless you're talking about a player who just isn't very good, and relies on a system to give him hollow numbers that pretty much anyone could equal or better (i.e., Welker).

If a player truly excels in some area, any coach worth his salt will find a role for him.
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:20 AM    (permalink
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I'd say for the most part there is one or two blue chip player at every position in the NFL, with the exception of a few positions like safety. I think there are certain positions though especially on defense where being truly elite is really hard like a coverage LB or safety. While other positions like WR or CB can have a huge difference in level of play. QBs are really hard to judge, I'm kind of struggling as there about 4 or 5 QBs that are playing at an extremely high level, and they all at times struggle and other times vie for the top spot.
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Old 03-09-2013, 01:50 PM    (permalink
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The league seems like it is being filled up with talent that fit to the system that the team is running. Fans, when targeting prospects or free agents, seem to always discuss how so-and-so fits their system better than so-and-so. Does this mean that there is a lack of elite talent in the NFL? Has is decreased over the years?

It feels like every year when you make a top 10 positional group, it always changes. At some positions, you have your top guy(some top two) and then the rest change.
Quite the contrary...the talent level is WAY higher than ever, so high, in fact, that fewer and fewer players are able to separate themselves from the pack, which is why it is becoming harder and harder for a guy to distinguish himself.
Players are all bigger, stronger and faster than they have ever been in the past. Every position has morphed up a size...30 years ago a guy who was 6'2" and 225 would have been a linebacker or a tight end, now he is a safety or a wide receiver, even a corner in some cases. Hell, Calvin Johnson is bigger than Rich Saul was...Rich Saul was a 6-time Pro Bowl CENTER for the Rams in the '70's. There are no bad players in the NFL today, and the lesser player is closer to the top player than he has ever been.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:36 PM    (permalink
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The rules have changed and that has changed how the game is played today.

In the past, WR's feared going over the middle of the field because they knew that Safeties would head hunt them down and concussions would likely follow, under today's rules, WR's no longer are scared to go to the middle of the field for a reception.

RB's no longer dominate in football because the rule changes have turned almost every team into a passing system.

DLmen no longer fear the RB and can go all out to attack the passer due to the rule changes. Hence the increase in sacks as QB's now throw for as many as 700 times a season, unheard of in the past generations.

LB's are now asked to blitz in a lot of defensive systems, far more often than in the past. LB's are also asked to cover receivers far more often than in past generations.They used to be run stoppers first and foremost.

Safeties are under far more pressure to cover pass receiver in man to man coverage and those who used to make a living out of playing in the box are now very limited in that aspect.

Ditto for CB's who must cover a WR man to man in most systems on almost every play. They are under tremendous pressure to perform.

OLmen who used to make a living run blocking can no longer survive in today's NFL where most teams throw the ball a minimum of 60% of the time and often a lot more.

There isn't a lack of elite talent any more than in the past, but under the new rules almost anybody can be a good receiver since head hunting has gone out of the game and receivers have little fear when they go out for a reception. Many, many of today's WR's couldn't have even made an NFL team in the past. It used to take a high amount of guts to play the position which is no longer required.

Today's NFL game is simply a soft form of what used to be called pro football, a lot of toughness has gone out of the game opening the door for players who have little to fear. A lot of today's Safeties could not have played in previous eras, they aren't tough enough and have been replaced by less physical players who can cover in man to man schemes.

Ditto for LB's who were once judged on their toughness but today are asked more and more to cover WR's where speed becomes the priority not toughness.

The rule changes have simply put the lessor talents far more closer to the top stars than ever before.
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Old 03-10-2013, 12:59 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Monomach View Post
No, there's not a lack of elite talent. Fans have simply FINALLY learned that even elite players don't necessarily fit every system or fit some worse than merely "good" players.

It's always been like this; fans just now have more understanding of schemes and players not on their team...and of players' weaknesses.

Back in the day, only those few of us who played college ball ever saw legit x and o breakdowns of different plays and even schemes. We saw fewer games because we didn't have as many nationally televised. Very few people recorded games on tape when that ability was finally widespread in the 80s and DVR technology didn't really catch on until the late 2000s.

...but what's the biggest reason fans are better educated now?



The internet is relatively new. High-speed internet that doesn't take a couple of minutes to load a simple page is even newer. Using the internet to read detailed analysis of professional football players is newer than that, even. Football articles on the internet used to be all fluff and quotes. Imagine every football article either being a straight report of what happened in a game...or a Peter King article. Even sportswriters hadn't been educated yet. The information we get now is incredible. The way it used to be, most people never dreamed that they'd get as much information as they do now.

The difference in knowledge between coaches and the smartest fans used to be unfathomably large. Now, the gap is closing.

TL;DR...Players aren't less elite; we're just better educated.

edit: oh, sure. WCH hit the nail on the head as I was typing out all of this crap and searching for that old 90s internet advertisement in .gif form. :shake fist:
How does an elite guy not fit every system? I mean there are examples of taking a DT and trying to play him as a 5-tech, but that is obvious. Taking an elite qb, wr, rb, linemen, lber, cb, or s that is elite and placing him into another system shouldn't be a challenge.

For example, we saw an elite prospect in Calvin Johnson while playing for a run option team in college and having a terrible qb throwing him the ball. Now, Calvin is in a different system and still being elite.

My point being, there is a decrease in so called elite guys panning out(to anything really) while an increase in role players succeeding in the role given to them by the coaches.

You see role players being payed as if they're elite talent, which they're not. Would many consider guys like Wallace and Jackson elite? How about linemen that are just good at pass blocking rather than both run and pass blocking. Guys who in the secondary that are only good in the inside than the outside(goes both ways)

Fans may have learned more about the game because of the internet, but it seems as if more role players type talent are being rewarded with media coverage and larger contracts. They're succeeding at a higher rate than those guys we thought were elite.
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Old 03-10-2013, 04:55 PM    (permalink
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I think the safety position both free and strong is lacking elite talent.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:05 PM    (permalink
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Interesting thought, but for this point, I think a lot of it has to do with fans becoming more sophisticated thanks to the internet and 24-hour sports news.
I think it has more to do with teams NOT letting the elite talent get away. When you have a guy like Rodgers, Megatron or AD in their prime, you don't trade them away or let their contract run out. So of course fans aren't talking about the elite players, since they won't be moving any time soon. That's why there's such a big fuss that there's a chance Revis will be traded, since he is considered an all-time elite talent by many.
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Old 03-11-2013, 08:28 PM    (permalink
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How does an elite guy not fit every system? I mean there are examples of taking a DT and trying to play him as a 5-tech, but that is obvious. Taking an elite qb, wr, rb, linemen, lber, cb, or s that is elite and placing him into another system shouldn't be a challenge.

For example, we saw an elite prospect in Calvin Johnson while playing for a run option team in college and having a terrible qb throwing him the ball. Now, Calvin is in a different system and still being elite.

My point being, there is a decrease in so called elite guys panning out(to anything really) while an increase in role players succeeding in the role given to them by the coaches.

You see role players being payed as if they're elite talent, which they're not. Would many consider guys like Wallace and Jackson elite? How about linemen that are just good at pass blocking rather than both run and pass blocking. Guys who in the secondary that are only good in the inside than the outside(goes both ways)

Fans may have learned more about the game because of the internet, but it seems as if more role players type talent are being rewarded with media coverage and larger contracts. They're succeeding at a higher rate than those guys we thought were elite.
I don't think it would work for LBer, CB, or Safety. There is a huge difference depending on schemes that teams run. 4-3 lbers require more speed since there are only 3 of them and they have to cover more area. Cover 2 CB's and Safeties are quite a bit different than non zone types. Cover 2 CB's usually play in a zone and aren't always asked to cover a WR man to man but they had better be excellent tacklers while man to man defenses require less tackling ability but much better man to man ability.

Also ZBS blocking teams really require a different OLman. He can be a bit smaller but he must be able to block on the move in space while non ZBS teams look for bigger blockers with less quickness.

Schemes definitely often require different skills and aren't necessarily interchangeable. Sure, some might be able to play in different schemes but a lot of players cannot.
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